salsa dance.jpg


By Arthur Murray



Salsa is the Spanish word for “Sauce” denoting a spicy hot flavor. As a dance it can be danced to a variety of different rhythms. Generally salsa music encompasses many Afro-Latin rhythms driven by the clave (two wooden sticks struck together). Today’s Salsa is the result of many years of rhythmical evolution due to economical, social and political change. Salsa is the national music and dance of Puerto Rico. Many of the Salsa dance patterns are closely related to those of the Mambo.



In 1933 Cuban songwriter Ignacio Piniero wrote the song Echale Salsita (throw some sauce) after tasting food which lacked Cuban spices. But it wasn’t until 1962 when Jimmy Sabater’s tune Salsa y Bembe suggested the dancers liven it up or spice it up by adding a little “salsa” (sauce) to their movement when they danced.



Danced to four beats using only three steps, each step being a beat long, the remaining beat is used as a tag to the last step or perhaps an adorning (tap, kick or pause) movement called a highlight. Steps can be traveling or on the spot.

Teaching Elements

  • Footwork                     Steps can move side to side, forward and back or in circles
  • Rhythm                        Count as Quick Quick, Slow or 1,2,3 (holding or taping on beat 4)
  • Regional Influences   Breaking on count three is acceptable on regional basis.
  • Compare/Contrast     Marked similarities with Mambo, Lindy Hop, Swing, Hustle


Salsa artist include:


Marc Anthony

Celia Cruz

West End Mambo

Tito Puente

The Latin Explosion